|Tonight we have two French vigneron visiting from young domains, Domaine des Hauts Baigneux, and Clos Signadore, and another young French winemaker working from Bertrand, his established family’s domaine.
From the Loire we have Philippe Mesnier visiting from a very young domain indeed, the four-year-old Domaine des Hauts Baigneux. In 2013, Philippe and his partner, Nicolas Groisbois, purchased thirty acres of vines in Azay-le-Rideau, situated not far from Chinon. There they are part of a modest grolleau renaissance, a variety scorned by some and which yet finds itself undergoing a modest revival as vigneron reevaluate its telos, which is to produce thirst-quenching wines with startling low levels of extract and alcohol that a lot of us like to guzzle. We’re tasting grolleau in two forms tonight, blended with various other traditional grapes such as gamay and cab franc: one is a dry, naturally sparkling rosé; the other is a light-bodied, chillable red.
From Corsica, we have Christophe Ferrandis of Clos Sigadore. Christophe first studied classics and later enology, and worked at Chateau Pibnaron in Bandol for a stint in the late 90s. In 2001, he planted his own estate, mostly from scratch, up in the mountainous Patrimonio hinterlands in the north of Corsica. Certified organic since 2013, all his wines are fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel vats. He’s doing wonderful, fresh work there with the native nielluccio grape, and we’ll be tasting both his nielluccio rosé and red wines this evening. Nielluccio, some say, is identical or related to the Tuscan grape sangiovese, yet to me, the two grapes seem very different creatures indeed.
Finally, from Beaujolais, we have Yann Bertrand with a sparse bit of wine to show us (the current vintage is sold out, so this is a preview of wines that are not yet available to sell). Yann is a disciple of luminaries such as Foillard and Metras, and he’s taking his family domain in Fleurie to a new and exciting dimension. 2016 was a disaster for Yann in which he lost 90 percent of his grapes due to hail, so here’s your chance to preview wines
Hauts Baigneux Pétillant Naturel Rosé 2015
Clos Signadore Patrimonio Rosé “A Mandria” 2015
Yann Bertrand (limited quantities)